Monday, May 21, 2007

I DIDN'T START IT!

An open letter to NMN’s sister on her birthday:



“I didn’t start it!” How many times did Mommy hear that one. Of course, she didn’t usually care who started the fight. She just wanted the fighting to stop. And, on some level, she must have known that you had indeed started the fight. If I remember correctly, you had always started it. But we need not quibble about that now.

Looking back, it is no surprise that we fought the way we did. I only took Intro Psych in school. However, I believe the technical term is “Niggas Livin’ All Up On Top Of Each Other Syndrome.” (There are usually severe outbreaks in the projects across America in July and August.) Sharing that living room/bedroom/family room for all those years, the subtext of half the shit we said to each other before I headed off to college was, “You again?!?! Why don’t you get the fuck out my face?”

But the flip side of our particular case of N.L.A.U.O.T.O.E.O.S is that we were always so close. Sometimes, people missed that as they heard us argue from morning ‘til night. Then they’d fuck up and mess with one of us. Remember when Michael pushed you when we were walking home from school. Yeah… I probably didn’t need that final punch to his temple, but he had to learn. NOBODY PICKS ON MY BABY SISTER BUT ME! (Note: And by “pick on” I mean respond reasonably to your provocation.)

It’s been a while since either of us has felt compelled to punch some fool in his temple. (Unless you’ve been holding out on me.) But I think it’s cool how much we still look out for each other. There’s something deeper than love in our voices when we ask – even if we’re too busy to talk – “You alright, though?” There’s something comforting about knowing that if I said, “No,” you would put the world on hold to listen. There’s something special in the way we ask, “How you doin’?” We don’t just ask it. We mean it. And there’s the irony, of course, after all those years of paint-chipping screaming matches over the phone. We both now use the phone nearly every day…to call each other.

I watch the niglets play…then fight…then hug…then play some more. The whole fucking cycle gives me a headache, if you want to know the truth.

I want to reason with two-year-olds. I want to tell them that someday they’ll be so close that even from three thousand miles away, they’ll watch each other’s backs like hawks. He’ll cheer her up when she’s down. She’ll talk him down when he’s hot. He’ll fume that she isn’t being treated fairly at work and bark, “Fuck that! You go back in there. And you don’t take no shit off nobody.” Then he’ll hear her smile and remember that they’re not in Flatbush – I mean, er…Ladera Heights anymore.

I wonder how long it’ll be before I can tell them about you driving from Chicago to LA with me in a Uhaul full of their stuff. What a wild ride. Blinding snow in the mountains. Torrential downpour as we descended into LA. And, between those, the wind did it’s best to tip us over now and then. But we survived the tough weather…together.

Then it strikes me that I might as well save my breath…that they’ll have to learn it for themselves as we did. They’ll have their own reasons for admiring one another the way I admire you, my little sister. My little sister who had a son at eighteen then went on to raise that son, get her college degree and then her MBA.

I always wanted an MBA! When – and let’s face it, if – I go to heaven, I’m telling Mommy you wouldn’t share! That’s some bullshit, right there.

It’s funny. They call it sibling rivalry. But in the end, there is no competition. You are the best little sister a nigga could ever pray to have. I know when I’m outdone. I humbly concede.

So, let me say for the record that I am sorry that I once took a running start and banged your head into a wall. And I will simply assume that you did not specifically grow your nails out so that you could gather skin samples from me. (Damn, that shit used to sting!)

I hope this Musing sets off a cacophonous chorus of “Happy Birthday” wishes for my li’l sis. Then, for once, I can proudly admit, “I started it!”

XOXO,
NMN


p.s. I forgive you for starting all those fights when we were kids.

p.p.s. You’re welcome.

p.p.p.s. And don’t be expectin’ no card from me this year.


6 Comments:

Anonymous Brandon said...

Happy Birthday NMN's sister

1:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was so sweet! Happy Birthday!

Toni

12:52 PM  
Blogger Spades said...

Happy birthday NMN's sister!!!

This got me to thinking about my two sisters.

Thanks for that.

7:53 PM  
Blogger magiel said...

Happy Birthday to NMN's Sis.

Respect for One Of The Woman who teached you to "expres" yourself..

Make it a good day.

ps: Do send the card. From your discription that sounds wise..

6:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mmmm Hmmm. Sound just like my brother. He started it, not me!


-greer

6:26 PM  
Blogger Aicha said...

awwwwwwwwwww....beautiful..

8:41 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home